Neighbors rescue three kids

Three children were rescued by neighbors Thursday night after a fire broke out at the home of Jack and Stephanie Kuhn, 2708 Third St.

Mark Myers said he was driving up Fourth Street about 10:30 p.m., and after turning onto 27th Avenue, he saw his niece running down the street. She said something was going on.

Myers said he was the told there was a fire, there were three children inside the home and the parents were not at home.

Other neighbors put up ladders to get to the upstairs bedrooms.

Myers said he got in the front door and saw the carpet was on fire and there was fire in another room to the right.

“I said we have to get the kids out,” Myers said.

Myers said he started calling out and heard a little girl say she was in her mother’s room.

“I couldn’t see; there was so much smoke. I couldn’t find a light. I was trying to get to her, but I ran into a bed. Then I felt her arm and grabbed her and got her out the front door,” Myers said.

Meanwhile, other neighbors were able to extinguish the fire before firefighters arrived and were able to get two boys out through a window, onto a roof and down a ladder, Myers said.

The 4-year-old girl and the boys, ages 6 and 13, were taken to Altoona Regional and kept overnight for observation. They were released Friday, said Tim Hughes, Altoona fire inspector.

“The kids were covered with soot. I assume they were asleep and were awakened by people trying to get in,” Myers said.

Altoona police officers, who also responded to the scene, were able to rescue a dog, Myers said.

Two officers – Fred Wasser and Ryan Caputo – were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, Hughes said.

Fire officials and police are continuing their investigation into the fire.

The home sustained significant smoke and heat damage, Hughes said.

Myers said he doesn’t consider himself a hero.

“You just react to it. It may not be the smartest thing to do, but I had to try and get in to find the kids. I couldn’t imagine not trying to help those kids,” Myers said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.